Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Chronicle Reporter
PLAITING of hair is a profession usually associated with women but an increasing number of men in Bulawayo have proven that they are equal to the task.
Several men who are in the industry have found a convenient working space along 6th Avenue near Engen Garage.
The building they used to work from next to the garage was recently closed to make way for renovations but that has not stopped them from going ahead with their business.
These men now attend to their customers on the pavement along 6th Avenue. Despite the risk of being arrested, their clients continue to flock to this illegal operating area in order to get their hair plaited.
The Chronicle news crew caught up with Mr Maqhawe Dube who was plaiting a client’s hair along 6th Avenue. He said he learnt the skill in South Africa where it is also being done on the streets.
Mr Dube said he mainly specialises in crocheting dreadlocks and styling them.
“While I was in South Africa, a friend of mine introduced me to this hair plaiting business. He taught me how to do it and I also started plaiting hair of clients along the streets in South Africa. I came back home in 2017 and started doing my business in a building along 6th Avenue but it was closed a few months back for renovations,” he said.
“So now I attend to clients along the pavement along the road. I have regular clients who know that they can find me.
Operating from here also helps me to get new clients because when some people pass by and see what I’m doing they get interested. I specialise in hair crocheting, I do it on natural hair or I use wool.”
Mr Dube said he realised that he could earn a living through plaiting hair. He said while business was a bit low because of the Covid-19 pandemic, he was still able to sustain his family.
Mr Dube said on a good day he could attend to four clients. He said more ladies now prefer dreadlocks which was making his business viable.
Mr Prichard Nkomo who also plaits hair along 6th Avenue said he started doing that in South Africa in 2013 before moving to Bulawayo in 2017. He said he was able to get a decent income through his business.
“This is the only source of income that I have and it’s really helping me. When I went to South Africa and saw other people plaiting hair in the streets, I immediately realised that this could be a viable business opportunity and that’s why I decided to come back home and pursue it. I plait some of my customers at home during the weekend. I have loyal customers that come looking for me specifically and if I’m attending to another client, they wait for me to finish,” he said.
Mr Nkomo said he however has to be on the alert for council police as it is illegal to operate from the street.
He said if caught by police he and his client are arrested and fined for blocking the pavement.
Mr Nkomo said he does not have any other place to operate from.
“People have known for the past years that they can get our service from this area. If we move to another place, we will lose our clients. This place is very convenient as it’s a busy place and many people pass by. When we were operating from the building I used to go down and look for customers on the streets and I used to get many clients from advertising my business this way because this area is busy,” he said.
Mr Nkomo said if they were going to be allocated working space then it had to be within the vicinity.
The Chronicle news crew also talked to clients that the two men were plaiting who said they were pleased with the services they were getting. They said they were now regular clients.
“When I want to renew my dreadlocks, I come here because I know that Mr Dube can do exactly what I will be expecting. I don’t mind being plaited along the streets while people pass by because all I’m after is the end result. In the same way that the person who plaits my hair will be on the lookout for council police so will I so that I can also flee. These people plait along the street are also better because their charges are lower that the hairdressers found in salons,” said one of the ladies who preferred not to be [email protected]